A New Tradition with C.A.S.T. for Kids

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In early August, the Florida Region held their annual fishing tournament for customers, vendors, and CES branches at the Hawk’s Cay Resort in the Florida Keys, the fishing capital of the world.  But this year, the region did something a little bit different. They helped raise money for a national charity, C.A.S.T. for Kids.

“We take customers fishing every year,” Regional Manager Mike Bertone said. “So this year, we looked for a charity to tie into our event and help raise money for a good cause.  That’s when we landed on C.A.S.T. for Kids with the help of CES Cares.”

C.A.S.T. for Kids is a national charity with a mission to enrich the lives of children with special needs through fishing. To attend one of their events is to attend a celebration.

There’s an awards ceremony, the kids get a standing ovation, and they get to talk about their day fishing onstage, in front of everyone who helped put the event together — friends and family alike.

The best part? It’s all paid for. The families don’t have to spend a dime of their own money.

Even though Bertone and his guests couldn’t take the kids out personally this year, they were still more than happy to participate and raise over $3,200 for C.A.S.T. for Kids.  

How CES Reeled in C.A.S.T. for Kids

“We like all of our events to be all-inclusive and at no cost to our customers,” Mike Bertone said, “but the customers were more than generous with their donations and getting into the raffles. This was an organization they could easily get behind.”

By the end of the trip, a lot of customers even asked about the charity and how they could donate their time to take these kids fishing on their own boats in the future. After all, they understand how important it is to get out on the water. Having a moment to share that with these kids is a powerful experience.

“We are fortunate to go fishing anytime we want,” Bertone said. “Whether we take our boat out, go with a friend, or fish from a pier, we can do this almost any time. These kids can’t. They count on our support and support from others to get them fishing.”

And everyone who attended the annual fishing event could easily get behind C.A.S.T. for Kids’ mission.

“With COVID, a lot of charities have kind of been put on the back burner. We reached out to CES Cares and they found C.A.S.T. for Kids, the perfect charity for our event. Everyone could easily appreciate their mission, and it showed.”

Fundraising at a Fishing Tournament

To help raise money, City Electric Supply held a raffle for some prizes, and 100% of everything raised went straight back to C.A.S.T. for Kids, including a portion of the prize money awarded to the team that caught the biggest dolphin.

“The whole trip was just about helping someone get out on the water who isn’t able to get out on the water themselves,” Bertone said. “It’s important that we still do things like this. We have to be smart about our events, but we also still have to create events like this to thank our customers for everything they’ve given us over the year.”

In this case, what they gave was a lot more than what they got. Not only did Bertone and the Florida Region still keep their annual tradition alive, but they also turned it into such a positive moment by raising money for the organization. 

One Big Donation, One Day They’ll Never Forget

Jay Yelas, Executive Director of C.A.S.T. for Kids was overwhelmed when he saw the donation come through.

“The money they raised and donated was more than enough to fund an entire event by itself,” Jay Yelas said. “It means so much more than just another day of fishing. For a lot of children with special needs, they don’t get to do these activities. It opens up more possibilities for them to accomplish more in their lives.”

And thankfully, the donation could not have come at a better time for C.A.S.T. for Kids.

“This year, we’re set to do about half as many events as we normally do,” Yelas said. “So, even though we’re not able to do as much good as we did the year before, we still helped around 1,500 kids. It’s thanks to City Electric Supply and the support of all of our volunteers that help make it possible.”

But, there’s a huge silver lining in all of this.

“Next year, we’ll have more events than ever before,” he said. “People have contacted us wanting to do a new event in a new location next year. Some are even doing two or three of them. We couldn’t do what we do without that support and our donations.

A Proud History Launches a New Tradition with C.A.S.T. for Kids

At C.A.S.T. for Kids, they’ve taken more than 130,000 children fishing since their founding in 1991. With the support from Mike Bertone, the Florida Region, and their family of CES customers, hopefully that will lead to a lot more.

“CES made it possible for more children to have a great day of fishing and boating,” Yelas said. “Thank you from the foundation, but also thank you from the kids. We couldn’t do this without folks like CES.”

For Mike Bertone, it was another way to give back to his customers while raising money for a good cause.

“It was overwhelming a little bit to see how excited everyone got. With 60 people and one night of events, we were able to make a big difference,” he said.

“Thank you to CES Cares, our events team, Christine DeMartino, and CES Marketing for helping us get this event together. It was a huge success, and we look forward to tying more charities in to our future events.”

Want to get involved with a charity of your own?

Reach out to us at CESCares@cityelectricsupply.com. We can help you research charities for your event and connect you with the right cause that’s important to you. 

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